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    Rolex, The Julian Nott Collection Ref. 16013 DateJust, Presented by Rolex to Julian Nott for the 1984 Rolex Awards: "Spirit of Enterprise", Circa 1984
    Case: 36 mm, stainless steel and gold, three body case with screw down caseback, No. 8305590
    Dial: champagne dial with applied gold hour markers, gold luminous baton
    Movement: Rolex Cal. 3035, self-winding, rhodium finish, 27 jewels, adjusted to five positions and temperature, monometallic balance with shock absorber, chronometer
    Band: Rolex signed Jubilee bracelet in stainless steel and gold
    Signed: Rolex on case, dial, movement

    ROLEX AWARDS 1984. DATEJUST REF. 16013


    Ferdinand Magellan would see his dream of global circumnavigation come to an end in 1521 in knee-deep water off the coast of territory we now call the Philippines, overwhelmed by the force of 1,500 natives repelling his landing party with bamboo spears and swords. His small fleet would continue on without him and complete the voyage a year after their leader's death and thereby record one of the greatest human achievements of the pre-industrial age. Today, few are aware that Magellan had failed to complete the journey that serves as his eternal legacy, but there is an undeniable justice in this oversight, as the endeavor could not possibly have succeeded without his essential contributions to the cause.

    Fifteen years would pass between the inception of Julian Nott's campaign to accomplish a non-stop balloon circumnavigation of Earth and the realization of this dream, but it would be Swiss psychiatrist and aviator Bertrand Piccard, and not Nott himself, who would complete the mission. However, the contents of this lot speak plainly to Nott's essential early contributions to this extraordinary achievement, and the role of horology's most celebrated brand in advancing the goal.

    This documentation, viewable in full at our online listing, dates back to the presentation of the offered Rolex Datejust, which is engraved on case back, "The Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Julian Nott, 1984." This packet includes a Rolex press release announcing Nott's recognition for planning, "The First Non-Stop Balloon (sic) Voyage Around the World," as well as the artfully calligraphed award certificate issued to Nott directly. Other paperwork represents a sponsorship covenant between Nott and Rolex for this round-the-world flight. But perhaps most fascinating to Rolex enthusiasts will be Nott's 1982 letter to Rolex calling for the production of an Explorer constructed of titanium, a metal that has seen implementation by an ever-expanding roster of watch brands but not, as of yet, by Rolex itself

    The Julian Nott Collection

    A month before Neil Armstrong placed the first human footprint into the powder coating of the Moon, another leading pioneer of aviation was just beginning his own romance with the skies, chartering a hot air balloon ride to impress a young lady who had struck his fancy. Mesmerized by the peaceful silence and scenic views of that inaugural flight in June 1969, Julian Nott realized he had found true love--not in the comely companion who shared his wicker basket, but in the gentle nullification of gravity and the scientific principles that made it possible.

    For the next half century, there would be no greater name in the field of ballooning than Julian Nott, who would compile a collection of nearly eighty world records in his dangerous profession, innovating pressurized cabins and solar heating mechanisms to soar to unprecedented altitudes and historic crossings of the Sahara Desert and the Australian continent. Sadly, Nott's long and beautiful dance with death would come to its conclusion in March of this year, a crash landing on a mountainside in Warner Springs, California. He was seventy-four years old.

    Biographical accounts have tended to stress the physical bravery of the world's aeronautical pioneers--from Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight to Sikorsky's treacherous early experiments with helicopters to the various Apollo missions--and certainly Nott was always fully cognizant of the possibility that his life might end in the manner that it did. But Nott was first and foremost a man of science, a highly skilled and innovative engineer whose contributions to the advancement of high-altitude travel lives on in the machinery he invented. His immortality in the field has long been assured by a voluminous folder of patents.

    Was it his daring or his intellect that brought him to the attention of horology's most celebrated commercial brand? The answer is almost certainly both. In retrospect, the partnership between Rolex and Julian Nott seems a match made in heaven--each dedicated to precision engineering and elite achievement in fields an unsentimental type might consider obsolete in an age of jet planes and cell phones tethered to atomic clocks. There is an inherent pragmatism in any form of science or engineering, but both the man and the brand have been fueled by a passion that transcends the practical.

    The clientele of Heritage Auctions is intimately familiar with this form of passion, and any serious collector of the Rolex brand will understand the enormous significance of the wristwatches that populate The Julian Nott Collection we proudly offer in the pages that follow, and the long tradition they represent. Rolex famously equipped Mercedes Gleitze with a newly-innovated Rolex Oyster in 1927 for her ten-hour swim across the English Channel to showcase its waterproof case. In 1953, Mount Everest was conquered for the first time by a British climbing team equipped with another version of that classic Rolex format. Julian Nott served as the perfect heir to that tradition of intrepid visionaries of the Rolex family, appearing in an array of print ads in the 1980's commissioned by Madison Avenue executives anxious to continue the branding of its watches as favored by the world's most accomplished and compelling pioneers.

    The wristwatches that comprise The Julian Nott Collection are the very ones issued to the renowned balloonist by Rolex during the period of Nott's endorsement, worn on some of his most important and treacherous flights. As such, there is no hyperbole in characterizing these examples to be among the most significant Rolex wristwatches ever to appear upon the auction block. Many have theorized that Nott himself was involved in some design aspects thereof, but the answer to that question will surely remain unspoken by the luxury brand's famously tight-lipped public face.

    But this much is certain--for the most sophisticated collectors of post-war horology, these personal keepsakes of the valiant aviator represent the pinnacle of Rolex intrigue. These are wristwatches that will fascinate and inspire their new owners, and, as such, serve as the perfect remembrance of the man who wore them with bravery and distinction in representation of the legendary Swiss makers.


    Condition Report*: Type: Rolex, The Julian Nott Collection Ref. 16013 DateJust, Presented by Rolex to Julian Nott for the 1984 Rolex Awards: "Spirit of Enterprise", Circa 1984
    Signed: Rolex on case, dial, movement
    Model: Ref. 16013
    Dial: champagne dial with applied gold hour markers
    Hands: gold luminous baton
    Metal: stainless steel and gold
    Case: #No. 8305590
    Case Info: three body case with screw down caseback
    Case Width: 36 mm
    Crystal: acrylic
    Watch Movement: Rolex Cal. 3035, self-winding, rhodium finish, 27 jewels, adjusted to five positions and temperature, monometallic balance with shock absorber, chronometer
    Band: Rolex signed Jubilee bracelet in stainless steel and gold
    Circa: 1984
    *Heritage Auctions strongly encourages in-person inspection of items by the bidder. Statements by Heritage regarding the condition of objects are for guidance only and should not be relied upon as statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty, or assumption of liability by Heritage. All lots offered are sold "AS IS".

    Auction Info

    Proxy Bidding Ends
    December
    10th Tuesday 9:50 am CT
    Auction Dates
    December
    10th Tuesday
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    Additional Location Info:

    The Langham New York, Fifth Avenue
    400 Fifth Avenue
    New York, NY 10018

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